The first camp of Sounders FC’s preseason concluded on Friday with a loss in the club's second friendly. Following a 5-0 victory over collegiate side UCLA on Wednesday, the Rave Green dropped a 2-1 result to MLS rival LA Galaxy.
However, after the match Head Coach Sigi Schmid noted that he is satisfied with his team’s overall progress during its nine-day stay in Southern California.
“I think we’ve been able to really tank up on our fitness levels,” Schmid said. “And we haven’t had any notable injuries. I think the team is at a good place physically right now.”
Against the Galaxy on Friday, Schmid used separate 11-man lineups for each half, just as he did in the matchup with UCLA two days earlier. LA opened the scoring in the 18th minute on a goal by Baggio Husidic, and then Marco Pappa equalized nine minutes later on a low shot from inside the box. Rookie forward Nacho Maganto notched the winning goal for LA in the 54th minute.
Granted this was a preseason fixture, but Pappa has made a real habit of scoring against the Galaxy. It started during his first career matchup with LA in August of 2010, when Pappa scored the opening goal of the Chicago Fire’s 3-2 upset victory over the Galaxy. Most recently, the 27-year-old midfielder erased LA’s hopes of clinching the Supporters’ Shield when he tallied both goals in Seattle’s 2-0 win over the Galaxy last October.
Pappa played at right midfield for the first 45 minutes of both Sounders FC friendlies this week. He too is pleased with the growth of his squad during the early part of the preseason.
“I think in general we feel good after nine days in the preseason,” Pappa said. “We’ve done some hard work in these nine days.
“We’re happy with our performance in the first part of the preseason, and now we’re looking forward to getting better and better.”
In addition to its two friendlies, Sounders FC also scrimmaged with the LA Premier Soccer League All-Stars on Thursday. The trip to California provided an opportunity for Schmid and his staff to see new players in action and try some veterans at different positions.
Sounders FC now heads back to Seattle, where Schmid said the club will be focusing on its cohesion and passing game. Next Sunday the Rave Green travel to Tucson, Ariz., where they will face more MLS foes in the 2015 Desert Diamond Cup during their final trip of the preseason.
Believe it or not, the 2015 regular season is just a month away. Seattle opens its campaign at home on March 8 against the New England Revolution, a match the club is already eagerly anticipating.
“You always get excited when the season’s coming up. That’s what keeps you going,” Schmid said. “I’m trying to think of how many season openers I’ve had as a coach and player. It’s been a ton, but the butterflies are always there.”
Added midfielder Andy Rose: “I can’t wait. …When that day comes, we’ll be ready.”